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One Step At A Time: Eliud Kipchoge

An account of one of the greatest achievements in the world of athletics and how the man with a contagious smile has been breaking barriers left and right.

Vinayak Manoj
Last updated: 19.10.2019
One Step At A Time: Eliud Kipchoge | Sports Social Blog

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Slow and steady wins the race and this time it is Eliud Kipchoge who has won it. The 2018 IAAF male athlete of the year has been shattering world records in his wake. Training in humble setups like farms and forests, his story is truly that of hard work and struggle. Kipchoge crossed another milestone on the 12th of October, by running the first-ever sub-two-hour marathon with the timing of 1hr 59min 40sec. The Kenyan holds the world record for the fastest marathon, set in 2018 in Berlin within 2hrs 1min 39sec. Cheered on by a legion of fans, the athlete completed four laps of the 9.4km circuit, around a park in the centre of the Austrian Capital.




The feat was achieved with a team of 41 pacemakers and laser projections from a support car in the front. Seven pacemakers at a time assisted the Kenyan throughout the circuit, tapping out at intervals of 3kms at a time. 5 athletes ran in front of Kipchoge in a V-formation and two athletes just behind him on either side. This formation was chosen so as to cut down on drag as much as possible. These assisted conditions mean that his achievement will not be recorded as an official world record by the International Association of Athletics Federation(IAAF). All other guidelines of the IAAF were followed in order to give the attempt a sense of credibility and authenticity. History has been made nonetheless as the 34-year-old became the first man on earth to run a marathon in less than two hours. 


This marked his second attempt at breaking the two-hour barrier. The Kenyan clocked 2hrs 25sec on a Formula One racetrack in Monza, Italy in 2017. It was the fastest marathon ever run in the world, but failed to be recognised as an official World record because of the use of rotating pacemakers. Kipchoge set the World Record, the following year in Berlin running a marathon in 2hrs 1min 39sec. Shortly after which he announced his next project the INEOS 1:59 Challenge. 


The circuit was chosen after a worldwide search, using software that tested each and every location to find one with the most suitable parameters with respect to temperature, air pressure, elevation, wind speed and humidity at this time of the year. It featured 4 laps of the historic tree-lined Prater Park. It was selected as the venue of the INEOS 1:59 Challenge as it consisted of long, flat straights and offered protection from winds thanks to the trees standing tall in a single file for the majority of the course. 



No stone was left unturned with respect to the preparation of the race. With the financial backing of INEOS, a petrochemical company owned by one of the richest men in Britain Jim Ratcliffe, each and every detail was adjusted in order to maximise Kipchoge’s chances. Nike introduced its Vaporfly in 2017 for Kipchoge’s attempt in Italy to boost his chances of breaking the 2-hour barrier. The Kenyan wore a new edition of the Nike Next% that is set to release sometime next year. Kipchoge exited the venue with grace, while Vienna returned to its normal state of affairs, marathon running will never be quite the same anymore.

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